SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN SINAI, EGYPT

Earlier this year (2021), I had the opportunity to backpack a whole month through one of the most magical places of our planet: SINAI !! Now finally on my blog and website. Magazines out there, if you are looking for a story about SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, please reach out to me. Photos and text available. During the Corona pandemic, it became clear for many people that we have lost close contact to nature and also that many of us need to slow down and concentrate on the really important and essential things in life. The Sinai Peninsula, Egypt is one of the few places on our planet where we still can find vast untouched areas, like the desert and the mountains, that offer the opportunity to (re)connect with nature in a profound way. And what could be better than hiking in magical mountains or to get really slow and contemplative during a desert trip without any car, just on foot or on top of a camel? My trip began in a tiny straw beach hut a few kilometres north of Nuweiba. Then it took me deep into the desert in the heart of Sinai, accompanied by an experienced Bedouin desert guide. Lastly, I found my way to St Catharine village, from where I hiked different mountain trails every day until my legs couldn’t take it any more.

Sinai Desert – Wadi Ghazala

“Just remember the way you are walking and you will find your way back,” my husband suggested to me as well-intentioned advice in our last call before four days of trekking in the desert and being completely out of reach. I had shared some concerns that I would suffer some kind of injury or that Soliman, the old Bedouin who would be accompanying me on the trip, could fall ill and that I would not be able to call anyone for help and would never find my way back on my own. Despite the practical advice, after only 10 minutes I had no idea where we had come from – all sense of navigation lost. But my worries quickly evaporated, on the contrary I felt great relief. Nobody could reach me anymore, my cell phone having absolutely no reception. The Earth had swallowed me whole in great swathes of sand and rock, sweeping primeval plains where no person has ever walked. And yes, these places still exist! From the moment we set off with the two packed camels and Soliman’s two dogs, my fears seemed absurd to me. With every metre that we penetrated deeper into the desert, a feeling of absolute freedom came over me. I didn’t have to make any decisions, only to walk and breath – there was only the present moment in a wide-open, breath taking desert landscape under a grandiose sky.

What happens when you leave your comfort zone? You will only know by leaving your comfort zone! One of my mantras. If there is one thing that this ongoing pandemic has shown us, it is the fact that we are not treating our planet very well and many of our life choices are not sustainable. Mass tourism is one of the sectors that not only tends to exploit nature, but also the local population who in many cases are not included in the gains. So I decided this year to go back to the roots of travelling, when it was about visiting a place and getting to know its culture and people, together with experiencing the power of nature. I wanted to move slowly with local transport, stay at places that are family run, embrace simplicity. So I packed my backpack and without any plan in mind, I travelled for a month in Sinai, Egypt.

The landscape kept changing from sand dunes to black stones, over red mountains to sandstone colored hills.
With Bedouin Soliman Al Ashrab from the Mzaina tribe, 2 camels and 2 dogs did I walk for four days through the desert close to Wadi Ghazala.
Soliman baked fresh bread in the sand every day. Probably the most delicious bread on our planet.
Absolute freedom!

Red Sea – RockSea Camp

A bright yellow stripe with a red border emerges over the mountains as a burning silhouette. I can see the sunrise over Saudi Arabia through the opening in my straw hut that serves as a window. Not the worst view. The Red Sea is swooshing quietly to itself, lapping the stony shore at its own gentle pace. It is only six o’clock and I am relaxing on my mattress on the floor under a mosquito net. There are four weeks of vacation in Sinai ahead of me. The plan? To have no plan! I had only reserved this wonderful beach hut in RockSea Camp north of Nuweiba for the first few days and was content follow the flow of things. RockSea is named after the daughter Roxy of the German couple who manage this wonderful, solar-powered eco-camp. Not hipster style eco with avocado toast and chai latte. The wastewater from the communal showers and toilets is filtered and ultimately used to irrigate the few plants in this arid desert landscape. Water is the true treasure of the desert and every drop is sacred. There are only simple wooden bungalows and thatched huts, which if need to be removed one day, will leave no trace.

EGYPT, SINAI: RockSea is an eco seaside resort north of Nuweiba for lovers of simplicity who can nonetheless appreciate the availability of electricity during the evening, shared women & men’s bathrooms and a simple daily changing menu. There are 23 straw huts and wooden bungalows spread over a 400 m stretch of rocky cliffs and coral beach. A perfect place for snorkeling. And you have this incredible view on Saudi Arabia.
Tahina, foul, salad and freshly made Bedouin bread. The best breakfast ever!!!!!!
Sleeping in a hut that has no concrete floor, in fact no floor at all- just a carpet and mattress were between me and Mother Earth – gave me the best and deepest sleep ever. Being connected to Mother Earth is very healing.
EGYPT, SINAI: A walk through the desert north of Nuweiba. Mountains of all colors and different types of stones. Sand and some acacia trees that survive in this dry climate. Wadi Al Wishwashi is a beautiful valley with an ice-cold pool where one can swim. Wim Hof method can be done in the desert. 😉
The desert starts directly behind RockSea camp, so I would go for walks to enjoy this incredible special environment.

Sinai Mountains – Saint Catherine

Ahmed Mansour, a hermit from the I’tlah Valley in the Sinai Mountains, spontaneously invited me and my companion Mohamed to his little stone house. We sat on thin mats on the floor around a small cooking area. A welcome break after two hours of hiking over uneven rocks and beaten paths. Ahmed brewed a special herbal mixture with rose petals in an old sooty tin can, it smelled delightful. With his light grey beard, yellow kefiyeh headscarf and upright, proud posture, he appeared as some kind of incarnation from ancient history. It seemed to me that I had made on a journey back in time, back to a time when everything was slower and simpler. He told us about his life with great passion. For over 40 years, he had practised as a doctor in Saint Catherine, a small mountain settlement some 1,600 metres above sea level that had been traditionally inhabited by the Jebeliya Bedouin tribe (people of the mountains). Like many Bedouins in this area of his age, he was familiar with the medicinal herbs that grow in the area. He had had enough of busy village life and had withdrawn to this valley to enjoy a close connection to nature and the indescribable peace. Once a week he makes the two-hour walk to Saint Catherine to stock up on groceries and sometimes to still practice as a doctor. After two days, he always returns. I try to imagine what it would be like to live in a place that can only be reached on foot without neighbours – you would have to have faith in life.

Almond blossoms
Khudri is a plant that Bedouins dry and then smoke like tabacco.
EGYPT, SINAI: The town of Saint Catherine lies 1600m above sea level at the foot of the Sinai mountains. Mostly known for its famous Greek-orthodox monastery and Mount Sinai. But the region offers many peaks and valleys, gardens and many religious sites that you can explore walking or hiking. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Area for its natural and cultural importance.
The famous peak of Mount Sinai.
Finding and knowing the natural springs with drinking water is essential to survival if you can’t carry tons of water with you.
It often felt like walking on a different, uninhabited planet.
Thanks to all local people who kindly guided my through their incredible nature, explaining history, the environment, plants and culture to me. Shukran!!!!!!

Yoga, Sound Healing & Dance Retreat

Relax at beautiful Suryalila Retreat Centre in Andalusia, Spain

SPAIN, Villamartin: Suryalila during Christmas 2019

!!! 30th April to 5th May 2022 in southern Spain, where the sun always shines for you !!!

Immerse yourself in healing sounds, get carried away on a soft cloud of sounds from big powerful gongs, gentle wind chimes and soothing tones of Tibetan singing bowls. The retreat will offer a lovingly curated mix of invigorating and restorative yoga classes, sound journeys, and workshops on how to use Tibetan singing bowls on yourself and others. Also, a gentle introduction to healing voice techniques. And this year’s edition of the retreat comes also with an Ecstatic/Conscious Dance Night. After these 6 days/5 nights, you will leave feeling blissfully relaxed, but also equipped with new knowledge of how to use sound to help yourself and others let go of stress. All information can be found on my website https://www.everydaysustainable.org/yoga-sound-healing-ecstatic-dance-retreat-in-andalusia-may-2022/

PHOTO CALENDAR / FOTOKALENDER 2022

A new calendar for 2022 is available, with completely new beautiful photos from SINAI that I took on a month-long journey at the beginning of 2021. Desert – Red Sea – Mountains. A Dream! Also, for 2022 there will be another four calendars with different themes available. One about the fascinating megacity Istanbul, one with beautiful snow landscapes from Iceland, another one with portraits of women from around the world and the fourth one with a more spiritual theme. The calendars are available in various online stores but can also be ordered via any book store. You can see all of them here.

NEWS: This year you can also select the photos of your choice to create a calendar with photos from my website www.claudiawiens.com. It will be printed on high quality paper. Different formats and sizes will be available. Please email me for more info.

Ein neuer Kalender für 2022 ist erhältlich, mit ganz neuen tollen SINAI Fotos, die ich Anfang 2021 auf einer 1-monatigen Reise dort gemacht habe. Wüste – Rotes Meer – Berge. Ein Traum! Für 2021 sind wiederweitere vier verschiedene Kalender im Handel erhältlich. Einer über die faszinierende Metropole Istanbul, einer mit Schneelandschaften aus Island, einer mit wunderbaren Frauenportraits aus alle Welt und der vierte mit eher spirituellen Bildern. Erhältlich in allen üblichen Online Shops, aber auch über lokale Buchläden zu beziehen. Alle Kalender könnt Ihr Euch hier anschauen.

NEWS: Dieses Jahr könnt Ihr Euch bei mir auch Euren eigenen WUNSCHKALENDER zusammenstellen mit Bildern von meiner website www.claudiawiens.com. Gedruckt auf Qualitätspapier. Verschiedene Formate und Größen und Kalendarien sind möglich. Schickt mir eine Email für mehr Infos.

Online Photo and Video Exhibition 16th May to 15th August 2021

English below
HALT! Eine Online Foto- und Videoausstellung der Galerie Sohle1 in Bergkamen. Zusammen mit sieben weiteren Künstler*innen-Positionen, alle entstanden im Corona-Jahr, wird meine Arbeit CORONA CHRONICLES gezeigt. Erst war ich skeptisch, “eine ONLINE Ausstellung?, wird das gut?” JA!!! Die Ausstellung, kuratiert von der Dortmunder Fotografin und Künstlerin Iris Wolf, ist super geworden. Ab 16. Mai bis Mitte August zu sehen unter https://kunstinbergkamen.pageflow.io/halt und hier https://www.galerie-sohle1.de/

Arbeiten von: Katrin Streicher, Deborah Ruppert & Rebecca Rütten, Fred Hüning, Tobias Wuntke, Marzena Skubatz, Marlena Waldthausen & Miriam Dahlinger, Iris Wolf, Claudia Wiens

ENGLISH: HALT! An online photo and video exhibition of the Sohle1 gallery in Bergkamen. My work CORONA CHRONICLES is shown together with seven other artist positions, all of which were created during the Corona year. At first I was skeptical, “an ONLINE exhibition? Will that be okay?” YES!!! The exhibition, curated by photographer and artist Iris Wolf from Dortmund, turned out wonderful. From TODAY to mid-August to be seen at https://kunstinbergkamen.pageflow.io/halt and here https://www.galerie-sohle1.de

Works by: Katrin Streicher, Deborah Ruppert & Rebecca Rütten, Fred Hüning, Tobias Wuntke, Marzena Skubatz, Marlena Waldthausen & Miriam Dahlinger, Iris Wolf, Claudia Wiens

SPAIN, Seville: Life under quarantine during Corona Virus outbreak

CALENDAR 2021 / KALENDER 2021

Also for 2021 there will be again four different calendars with different themes available. One about the fascinating megacity Istanbul, one with beautiful snow landscapes from Iceland, another one with portraits of women from around the world and the fourth one with a more spiritual theme. The calendars are available in various online stores but can also be ordered via any book store. You can see all of them here.

Auch für 2021 sind wieder vier verschiedene Kalender im Handel erhältlich. Einer über die faszinierende Metropole Istanbul, einer mit Schneelandschaften aus Island, einer mit wunderbaren Frauenportraits aus alle Welt und der vierte mit eher spirituellen Bildern. Erhältlich in allen üblichen Online Shops, aber auch über lokale Buchläden zu beziehen. Alle Kalender könnt Ihr Euch hier anschauen.

Postcards for Sale

10 different photos available as postcards. The photos are glossy with vibrant colors and framed by a broad white frame. The cards do NOT have a gray outline, this only here so you can see the white frame against the white background. The price per card is 1€ and the minimum purchase is 10 postcards (mixed, or just one/several motifs, as you like), and postage from Spain to your country.

Literacy Class in Upper Egypt
Coptic Monks in St Paul Monestary in the Egyptian Western Desert
Two Girls playing football in Cairo
The belly of famous Egyptian Belly Dancer Dina
Brides in an Egyptian Bridal Beauty Salon in Cairo
A little girl reading a comic upside down in a tiny village in Shan State, Myanmar
Men playing Chinlone in Mandalay, Myanmar
Do Pwa is smoking a cheroot, the Burmese cigarette, after breakfast, Shan State
A Nat Gadaw during the famous Nat Festival in Taungboyne, Myanmar
Nuns are coloring their clothes in a nunnery in Sagaing, Myanmar

CORONA CHRONICLES – Lockdown in Spain

On Sunday the 15th March the lock down in Spain began. We are not even allowed to take a walk, not even alone. It’s depressing. To keep my spirits up I started a photo project. Creativity hopefully will help me to mentally, spiritually and emotionally survive these long weeks of confinement.

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷
Monday, 16th March 2020, Seville
The best way to deal with any crisis for me is to get out my camera and get creative. It’s going to be some fun weeks. 😉

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷
Tuesday, 17th March, Seville
You might say “Carneval is over”. But I tell you, now, where all dates are cancelled and every day is just a new BLANK day, we can invent ourselves, a system, no system. Today can simply be our carneval. With toilet paper confetti. Something needs to be done with all the paper, huh. It was raining today. So, no climbing on the roof again. No fresh air. Quarantine. And carneval.

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷
Wednesday, 18th March
I wish I could fly! I would fly away!
Today I listened to Reinhard Mey’s wonderful song “Über den Wolken” (Above the Clouds)
The refrain goes like this:
“Freedom is said to be boundless, there above the couds
It is said that all fears and sorrows are left behind down there, and then what appears to be grand and important
suddenly is insignificant and small….”

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷
Thursday 19th March, Seville
The good thing about the photoshoots is that it gives me something positive to think about. Instead of dwelling too much on all the information that we are flooded with I keep busy by creating a new photo. Stemming a shoot every day needs quite a bit of thinking, planning, improvising (as I have to use things that already exist in the house), then actually doing the shoot and afterwards selecting and editing the photos. We do it every day at the same time to add structure to the day. I can only highly recommend to everyone to be creative in these challenging times. Creativity has strong healing powers! ❤️

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷😷
Friday, 20th March, Seville
It was a gloomy day today, rainy…matching the mood. At this time of the year the beaches are empty and beautiful. We can only dream of it. So we get our electrical heaters out and simulate the beach. I make my own beach! Resist! As Pippi Longstocking sang: “Ich mach mir meine Welt wie sie mir gefällt”

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷😷😷
Saturday, 21st March, Sevilla
One whole week is over. Today we had heavy rain and gray gray gray skies. A perfect bed day, under any circumstances. ❤️ And many weeks to come. So I invite you to send me your wishes. What do you want us to do that makes you smile and gives you hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Suggestions please!!!! Be creative with us. ❤️

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷😷😷
Sunday, 22nd March, Sevilla
Today was a difficult day! The lock down got extended till 11th April. I talked to a friend in Germany who told me how she went on a walk in nature today. That made me almost cry. We are not allowed to go for a walk, not even alone. As if breathing in fresh air and hugging a tree could make you sick. Actually the absence of it will probably weaken your immune system. We are still priviliged as we at least have a terrace where we can play jungle. 🐍🦖🦋🦄🐝

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷Monday, 23rd March, SevilleThe Desinfactors 😂As earning enough money as freelancers is damn hard now, we are looking to the future and re-train. 😂On a more serious note, yesterday night and still this morning I felt quite defeated (we both did) with the prospect of being another 3 weeks being locked in. My teeth started hurting and my lower back was really sore this morning. I know this is just an reaction to my inner stress. Neither do I need a dentist nor anything for my back. I need to relax. And we do in the evenings now mindfulness practices, meditation, body scans… At least with have these tools. What about people who don’t? Who have physical reactions due to the stress and maybe even think they are sick now? What about those people who have to live with an aggressive person, or even a potentially violent person? Especially in Spain and in China the incidents of domestic violence have gone up. And other countries will follow.

 

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷
Tuesday 23rd March, Sevilla
Another day over. It’s like waiting for Christmas when you are five years old. Time is a snail. Something that keeps us sane is doing sport twice a day. Not with our toilet paper but with Entreenate. They offer from Mon-Fri fantastic daily morning and evening fitness classes. Join them if you understand Spanish. Seriously! Producing endorphines is soooooo important right now. You can also join me every Saturday from 6-7pm on Skype for a free yoga class.

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷
Wednesday, 25th March, Sevilla
Spring is in the air, the sun gets stronger and I bet you forgot buying suncream because you were busy stockpiling toilet paper. Don’t fret, toilet paper is multi functional. We tested it for you today, it makes an excellent sun screen. That’s the advantage of having time, you can become a toilet paper tester. The office Simon works for as a freelancer closed down today for the next two month. He will have lots of time now to test every single thing we can find in the house. Welcome to the new Corona world! Happy happy unemployed! (famous song from Wizo).

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷
Thursday, 26th March, Sevilla
When you leave the house only twice a week to go shopping, the temptation is high to wear your pyjamas ALL the time and have a shower every three days. Who cares really? But it’s not good for your mental state (or your relationship 😉). Therefore we decided to put on nice clothes and do something pretty. Remembering the beautiful things of life. As they say “This too shall pass” which is a Persian adage that reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. We made this day about dancing and joined a freedomDANCE session (isn’t that ironic? As our freedom of movement has been removed. But this is of course about inner freedom) with the wonderful Alex Svoboda in London this evening. You can join his online class every Thursday currently.SOON we will all dance together again! Embracing life! ❤️

CORONA CHRONICLES
Friday 27th March, Sevilla
No funny photos today. I felt defeated, low and very sad.
Sad to see friends around me going bankrupt.
Sad to see the queue in front of the soup kitchen in Triana getting longer every day.
Sad because there are people worldwide asking for strong leaders and not being aware of the fact how precious democracy and human rights are.
Sad because I’m not allowed to be in contact with nature.

So today I post only a symbolic photo that I took a few days ago. Tomorrow is a new day! There is hope in my heart.

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷😷
Saturday 28th March, Seville
Back on the roof, the show must go on ❤️🤩Today we go super local-Feria de Abril (April Fair). It’s the most important annual festival and also the essence of being in VERY close contact with MANY people. So it will be cancelled this year as so many other things. If you wonder why we mix cherry with Sprite…It’s called Rebujito, the Feria drink. The real thing is weirder than these pic btw, you can take a look here https://www.claudiawiens.com/travel/seville-feria-de-abril-april-fair/

😷CORONA CHRONICLES😷😷😷
Friday 3rd April, Seville
Simon was longing for windsurfing today. So off we went. In order to do also something useful we cleaned the ocean. Besides all the typical plastic we also found loads of toilet paper. Humanity must have produced lost of shit lately.
Just rigging up and down the sail gave Simon endorphines for a couple of hours. May become his new hobby during prison time.
Not much else to say. I feel pretty angry at times about the whole situation. And I definitely allow my anger to be there as well. All feelings are equal. Only we humans give them labels like positive or negative. If I don’t allow my anger to flow through me and find adequate ways of dealing with it, it still would be there anyways and then express itself possible through headaches or other physical symptoms.

CORONA CHRONICLES
24th April, Sevilla
This is not just any coffee cup. This is THE coffee that I drank OUTSIDE of the house today. In the market hall where is the eco veggie shop that we buy from, a tea and spice shop had reopened. They are normally a cafe as well. I was almost in tears when I saw that they are open and they sell coffee to go. I got so emotional that the lady inside almost started to cry as well. I DRANK A COFFEE that someone else made for me outside of my house. What a day!!!!!

CALENDAR 2020 / KALENDER 2020

This year there is the choice of four calendars: Istanbul, Iceland Snow Landscapes, Women Portraits and Spiritual Moments. Available from A5 to A2 and also planners. Available in many online shops and your local bookstore. Print on demand (no creation of garbage), printed in Germany. Here you can view all calendars.

Dieses Jahr habt Ihr die Wahl zwischen vier Kalendern: Istanbul, Islands Schneelandschaften, Frauenportraits und Spirituelle Momente. Erhältlich in Größen A5 bis A2 und als Planer. Zu beziehen in allen üblichen Online Shops und im Buchhandel. Print on demand (Abfall wird vermieden), gedruckt in Deutschland. Hier könnt Ihr alle Kalender anschauen.

Mini Format Art Prints – Bizarre Details from Egypt and other Countries

I have now extended my “mini format” collection of bizarre, funny, quirky moments and details from Egypt. Previously a set of nine, now there are 28 available. They come as 10cm x 10cm tiles or 15cm x 15cm, printed on Lambda Print Fuji Crystal DP II fixed on aludibond under 3mm acryl. The aludibond gives them weight and stability and the acryl a perfect brilliance. Each motif comes as an edition of 15, where I am offering the first ten sold for a price of only 39€ (10x10cm) or 59€ (15x15cm) (plus shipping). Original art makes a special gift (for yourself and others)!

aludibond

This is how a print mounted on aludibond under acryl looks from the side. They look very vivid. So sieht ein Fotoprint, der auf Aludibond aufgezogen ist und mit Acrylglas geschützt wird, von der Seite aus. Die Farben wirken sehr lebendig.

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Claudia Exhibition in Seville

Also available as set of nine (of any combination) for only 309,00 Euros. Auch als 9-Set (jeder Kombination) erhältlich, für nur 309,00 Euros.

International Women’s Day 2019 in Seville, Spain

❤️❤️❤️ Thousands of women and men took to the streets on the evening of the 8th March 2019 to celebrate International Women’s Day and to demand equal rights for all. If you would like to license my photos please get in touch with me info@claudiawiens.com ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️#womensday #internationalwomensday #seville #spain #weltfrauentag #spanien #sevilla #lucha

Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.
Spain, Seville: Thousands of women and men participate in the demonstration for International Women’s Day 2019.